P.M.-Dawn: #BlackGirlMagic

Erica Thompson

After the devastating news Prince died last Thursday, I was really looking forward to having a fun, carefree night on Friday. Luckily, that's exactly what #BlackGirlMagic provided! The event, which took place at the cool art space MINT, featured a lineup of black female DJs. I donned my Prince t-shirt and headed out around 10 p.m. with one of my best friends, Laila, who drove up from Cincinnati.

My GPS got us fairly close to the South Side venue, but we still needed help finding the place. We popped into the gay Irish pub Cavan to ask for directions. A few very drunk but very friendly men informed us that we just needed to proceed down the dark alley behind the bar.

There was no trouble on our way to the graffiti-covered brick building, and the vibe inside was nothing but positive. Everyone was friendly, including the vendors from Cornfed, the artist selling colorful prints of fairy-like creatures, and co-host Hamadi, who greeted us immediately.

We spent most of our time dancing in the main room. The cracked floors and walls covered in chipped paint and plaster made me feel as if I were in a secret, underground community. There were blue Christmas lights, a smoke machine and a blinking strobe light, but the party was brought to life by the people. There was a colorful mix of black and white, male and female, straight and gay. It was really interesting to see how the crowds changed as time - and different DJs - went on.

When we arrived, Lazzarus was spinning disco and other 1970s classics. The energy was definitely elevated when she played "You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)" by Sylvester. During the song, co-host Wripley and a guy in a maroon hoodie showed off some impressive partner dancing. Laila and I were also excited to hear "Controversy" by Prince. It was a poignant moment because we realized MINT was very similar to the clubs that Prince played in the early days of his career.

We also heard DJOhDestiny, who started her sick set with "Link Up" by NxWorries. She played a lot more music we hadn't heard before but instantly loved (thank goodness for Shazam).

At one point, we talked to people about Prince in a separate room with red lighting and an open ceiling. One person said Prince had given him permission to be himself; another shared the profound effect that Prince had on her mother.

Upon leaving at 2 a.m., I realized #BlackGirlMagic had brought a diverse group of people together, uplifted us with some great music and encouraged us to dance - just like Prince.